Carib Indians inhabited Grenada when COLUMBUS discovered the island in 1498, but it remained uncolonized for more than a century. The French settled Grenada in the 17th century, established sugar estates, and imported large numbers of African slaves. Britain took the island in 1762 and vigorously expanded sugar production. In the 19th century, cacao eventually surpassed sugar as the main export crop; in the 20th century, nutmeg became the leading export. In 1967, Britain gave Grenada autonomy over its internal affairs.


Full independence was attained in 1974, making Grenada one of the smallest independent countries in the Western Hemisphere. Grenada was seized by a Marxist military council on 19 October 1983. Six days later the island was invaded by US forces and those of six other Caribbean nations, which quickly captured the ringleaders and their hundreds of Cuban advisers. Free elections were reinstituted the following year and have continued since that time. Hurricane Ivan struck Grenada in September of 2004 causing severe damage.


Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 12 07 N, 61 40 W
Population: 109,011 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 25.4% (male 14,152/female 13,390)

15-64 years: 65.7% (male 36,245/female 34,960)

65 years and over: 8.9% (male 4,372/female 5,300) (2011 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Grenada

Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Saint George’s

geographic coordinates: 12 03 N, 61 45 W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Telephones – main lines in use: 28,400 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 121,900 (2009)
Airports: 3 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 3

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2012)

Military branches: no regular military forces; Royal Grenada Police Force (includes Coast Guard) (2010)
Manpower available for military service: Males age 16-49: 27,468 (2010 est.)


Grenada relies on tourism as its main source of foreign exchange, especially since the construction of an international airport in 1985. Strong performances in construction and manufacturing, together with the development of an offshore financial industry, have also contributed to growth in national output. Grenada has rebounded from the devastating effects of Hurricanes Ivan (2004) and Emily (2005), but is now saddled with the debt burden from the rebuilding process. The agricultural sector, particularly nutmeg and cocoa cultivation, has gradually recovered, and the tourism sector has seen substantial increases in foreign direct investment as the regional share of the tourism market increases.

Transnational Issues:

Disputes – international: none
Illicit drugs: small-scale cannabis cultivation; lesser transhipment point for marijuana and cocaine to US